Thursday, June 2, 2009
I know President Obama and former Vice President Cheney are 7th or 8th cousins — family, kin folk, but this is getting ridiculous.
Now comes word the Obama administration is seeking to withhold the CIA’s 2004 inspector general report on “enhanced interrogation regime” AKA, torture, for the third time, until August 31.
The ACLU, which reached agreement with the administration to declassify the report as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, is going to challenge the administration’s stall tactics.
The Obama Justice Department argues that the volume of material it needs to go through in the CIA’s 2004 inspector general report is just too great to meet any pre-August 31 timetable. Not only is the IG report itself 200 pages, but that’s just one of 319 documents under review as part of the case.
The ACLU replies that the CIA and the Justice Department have already missed three deadlines for the agreed-upon disclosure, and lawyer Amrit Singh writes that she’s “disturbed by the clear trend emerging in the government’s repeated delays in disclosure of documents critical to a complete understanding of the CIA’s interrogation program.” She says that instead of delaying, Judge Alvin Hellerstein should order the “expediting the reprocessing and release of all CIA documents at issue.”
This is a statement from ACLU national security chief Jameel Jaffer:
The CIA has already had more than five months to review the inspector general’s report, and the report is only about two hundred pages long. We’re increasingly troubled that the Obama administration is suppressing documents that would provide more evidence that the CIA’s interrogation program was both ineffective and illegal. President Obama should not allow the CIA to determine whether evidence of its own unlawful conduct should be made available to the public. The public has a right to know what took place in the CIA’s secret prisons and on whose authority.
Here’s the Department of Justice letter:
Editors Update: I have obtained a link to 51 pages of heavily redacted secret torture documents from the Department of Defense. You can read them HERE. One of the documents was a witness statement taken from the former head of interrogations at Guantanamo who suggested that President George W. Bush verbally signed off on the abusive treatment of detainees at Guantanamo. Please note, these are not from the Department of Justice which are separate and still a matter of question. Key details relating to the Defense Department’s use of illegal interrogation methods have been redacted from these documents. The Obama administration has even withheld details previously disclosed by the Bush administration. The withholding of this information makes a mockery of President Obama’s promise of transparency.